Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day/Boxing Day

Boxing Day is a British holiday that follows Christmas. There are a couple possible origins for the holiday. The one I like is that it is the day off work for English workers who had to work on Christmas catering to the parties of the upper classes. After the celebration of Christmas, the wealthy gave boxes of gifts and the day off to their workers.

In England it is still a day when you give gifts to people that assist you through out the year, like your mailman, or doorman, or bartender. I did not get anything.

We spent Christmas day just hanging around the house. Dinah and PJ came over for dinner. I was able to find a turkey, so we had this and three kinds of potatoes. MMMM.
I told someone last night that we did not do anything on Christams day. But on reflection we opened gifts, watched Batman Begins at 9:00am, cooked an entire Christmas dinner, Denzel came over, Dinah and PJ came to play a seven player game of Bang (an Italian card game that Dinah brought and that Davis wants to play all the time), ate dinner, played Bang again, the Harrison's of the North came over for deserts, and then we finished the day by watching Batman: The Dark Night. I guess the day was kind of full.

Boxing Day is a national holiday here, therefore it is a day off for museum staff. There was a cruise ship in so all of us came in to open the museum. The Harrisons came to use the internet, Denzel came with us, Kenlove came to be Kenlove. Another full house.

A gentleman and his daughter came by to ask about the old military bases here. He had worked at the missle tracking station in teh late 1960s and wanted to know if it still existed. I took him around and we looked at some of the standing buildings and some of the ruins.
In the evening, Allesio organized a Boxing Day jam session at the SandBar. We played, Mitch joined us, Kel came to play percussion, and a diver who teaches jazz at the New School in New York joined on the keyboard. Martin is getting good enough on the bass that he can just pick up and play. I wish he was here all the time. It was a party.

We played until the rain came at 11:00. The only other damper to the evening was that this was alos the goign away party for Edgar and Dikla. I probably have not written about them, but they ran the Bruno Art Gallery in the Cruise Center and we have been hanging out since the hurricane. They leave tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It Was the Night Before Christmas

Christmas is interesting this year for sure. Deneen and the boys came down for Thanksgiving and Christmas but are going back to Columbus in January. We have been in a tiny one room apartment since Nov 20 and just got back into our house which is about 75% completed.

Lucas and I were able to do one dive on Sunday. Lucas was at 100' and our bottom time was 70 minutes. He rocks. Also, he has worked with the DECR twice on the Reef Ball project. He has spent two days scuba diving and collecting coral. And two mornings free diving on the Reef Balls. Oh, we laugh every time we talk about the Reef Balls. We laugh harder when Deneen talks about the Reef Balls. But, in all seriousness, Lucas is the youngest diver to work on coral reclamation here. The Reef Ball guy said that he is probably the youngest diver in the world to have helped with a Reef Ball project.

Martin came in on Friday. My plan was to dive and swim and make him miss all the cool things about Grand Turk. He got off the plane sick and then made Lucas and Davis sick. They all have a head cold and cough and Davis has a fever.

There are no decorations really set up on the island this year. Last year the electric company set huge candy cane lights on all the poles. There have been few parties as well. The Governor's Christmas party was last Wednesday. This was a good party. Deneen, Dinah, and I went. Merry making and hobnobbing occurred in abundance. Deneen and I danced if you can believe that. Not that you can believe that I was dancing. I dance here all the time, but Deneen danced! It was Awesome.

If you remember last year, this was the party we took the Lonely Planet writer, Scott Kennedy, to. His issue of the Lonely Planet Caribbean has been published. I looked when I was in the states in November. It is very well written and I like the small mention of the "energetic museum director."

I just imed Connor Sintz. He said he was tracking Santa, who was just getting to Australia. I am pretty sure he is passing Grand Turk by this year. No - I am pretty sure he really is passing us by.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

First Night back in the House

Last night was the first night back in the house at Corktree Beach. We spent all day cleaning floors and getting beds back together while the electricians wired a few old ceiling fans and lights. We have about 50% of the electric back working. But this includes the stove and refrigerator so that is major.

We are still moving between the apartment, the museum, and the house. Our stuff is spread all over. The closets are not finished so though we can stay at the house, we still are working on the whole clothes thing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Second Thanksgiving

On Monday, we sat down to second Thanksgiving. We had planned to do this over the weekend, but it got really busy. The apartment we are in is too small. We are all on top of one another. We are sleeping on a pullout in the living room. It is hot and the mosquitoes on the south end of the island are bad.

After the nine weeks I have spent here I think an apartment with running water and electricity is like living in a palace. When you only remember what Grand Turk was like before Ike, the apartment is too small and too hot.

Over the weekend, Lucas and I had helped with the new reef ball project and we went to the BBQ at the Osprey. The next week will be devoted to getting the house back together.

Dinah's brother comes on December 17 and Martin comes on December 19. These are our drop dead dates for being back in the house. Everything is now focused on this.


We spent Thanksgiving eating with the Harrisons at their beach house. Thanksgiving is not a holiday here. And really the day does not stop like in the states. I spent all morning taking care of the fallout from international press coverage concerning the Trouvadore. I was to be home by 11:00 to put on a turkey, but I did not get home until 2:00.

We finally arrived at the Harrisons 30 minutes late or so. I was only able to prepare sweet potatoes and cranberry salad, but there was so much food this did not matter. They had cooked two turkey breasts in our oven while I was out of the house. We had a very nice afternoon and evening.

Electricity, Finally!

Electrical service was restored to the museum while we were gone. This is great. Though, I have to point out, we went nine weeks without power.

The fact that power has been restored really means that the work starts now. It has gotten incredibly busy again. This week we were able to get our phone hooked back up. Two days later we were able to get the internet restored. You would think that internet would mean more access and more blogs. But it really means that everything that did not get completed over the last nine weeks now has to be completed.

On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration held their press conference about the Trouvadore findings. This was the day we got our phone reconnected. The first call we received was from a reporter from the Miami Herald. We still are out of normal communications. I did not ever now about the press conference. I answered questions as I could, anyway. On Wednesday, the story hit the international press and run in newspapers all over the world.

Where Is Simon, Sandy?

We got back to Grand Turk on Thursday morning. On Saturday I flew over to Provo for an author signing for Where is Simon, Sandy?, a children's book written by Donna Seim. The book is based on a Grand Turk folk tale.

The signing, at Unicorn Book Store, went better than I had expected. People came in consistently throughout the morning. The author signed over a hundred books that were sold. This is a project that the museum has been working on for two years. We thought that the events surrounding the book would have to be postponed because of the hurricane. Though things came together just at the last minute. They went better than planned and the weekend turned out to be very successful.

These books are available through and through the publisher at

While in Provo, I bought lots of frozen meat, as well as a turkey and fruit and vegetables for Thanksgiving. I was 37 pounds over the weight limit in getting back home. This would have been a problem, but a first, the girl at the counter just letter it slide. The bag was too heavy though, and I had to take out the turkey and bring it over as a carry on.

Carnival Destiny

We arrived without issue in Miami and with no trouble, boarded the Carnival Destiny. As cruises go, I would be a little disappointed if we were not on board as a means of travel. But as travel goes, a cruise to Grand Turk is one fourth the cost of flights, if you shop and travel in the off season.

The trip to Nassau was cold. We did not wear shorts or swim suites at all. Nassau was great. We visited the oldest wooden house (incorrectly interpreted both by date of construction and by domestic use), the national art museum, and one of the old forts. We walked a lot, which always makes me happy but makes everyone else crabby.

The next day our ship was not able to stop at Half Moon Cay because of waves. The next day was also bad. Many people told me later that they did not think our ship would be able to stop. Had we not stopped it would have been an awful cruise and there would have been 3000 unhappy passengers on the two days back to Miami. We did stop.
It has been almost a month since I have written a blog. When I don't write it is usually a sign that things are not going particularly well. Suffice to say, this has been a tough few weeks. Don't get me wrong, my family arrived, we have a small apartment with running water (but no hot water) and electcicity, and it is the holidays. What could possibly be the problem? Oh did I mention that my family arrived, we have a small apartment with running water (but no hot water) and electcicity, and it is the holidays! This blog will include several that I would have written, starting where I left off.